Gitika Gorthi is the Founder and CEO of IgnitedThinkers, a non-profit organization she founded in the 8th-grade to spread space education and her love for aerospace to all students (www.ignitedthinkers.org). Gitika is a sophomore at Columbia University in the College of Engineering and Applied Science as a C. Prescott Davis Scholar. Gitika is an aspiring aerospace physician, medical researcher, and astronaut.
Through IgnitedThinkers, Gitika is working towards breaking the glass ceiling for minorities in the aerospace industry, incorporating more hands-on research space science-based activities into elementary education curriculums, and igniting the passions of all students by providing them the opportunity to explore and create. IgnitedThinkers' mission and vision statement are simple: to ignite, inform, and inspire students across the world.
Previously, Gitika conducted medical research at the Baylor College of Medicine Space Medicine Center, researched wind turbines at the University of Central Florida at Raghavan Research Group, and worked with professor Dr. Prasanta Pal from Brown University to develop telemedicine technology. Additionally, Gitika is a former NASA Ames Research Center GeneLab intern.
Currently, Gitika is a student researcher at Columbia Medical School at the Kuo Lab, where she researches on the disease mechanisms of ataxia and tremor using mice models. Furthermore, Gitika is a member of the NASA GeneLab Animal Analysis Working Group doing bioinformatics data analysis. This past summer, Gitika was a student researcher at Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Summer Research Program in Kidney Medicine where she worked at Dr. Martin Pollak’s Lab in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and studied chronic kidney disease modeling with organoids.
Gitika is climbing towards her goal of going into aerospace medicine research. Gitika is extremely excited about the new understanding studying humans in space will bring to treat diseases here on Earth and the medical technological advancements that will occur on Earth with the greater utilization of telemedicine for deep-space exploration missions. Most recently, Gitika was named one of the Top 100 Women in Aerospace and Aviation Professionals to Follow on LinkedIn in 2023. The future of aerospace is exciting, and Gitika is working to make it a more diverse and equitable environment for everyone.